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Voluntary Use of N95-Respirators

Employees who choose to wear N95-respirators on campus must follow these guidelines.

COVID-19 Update

Voluntary Use of N95 for Unvaccinated UC San Diego Campus Employees: Unvaccinated campus employees who choose to wear N95-respirators on campus must follow these guidelines.

A job hazard assessment is necessary to determine if a respirator may be required for your work. Respirator use is required when exposures reach a hazardous level. Respirators may also be required if you have been told by COEM (Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine) that you must use one to perform your work.

Sometimes, respirators can be encouraged to provide an additional level of comfort and protection even when exposures do not reach hazardous levels. This is considered Voluntary Use of a Respirator. Some approved uses on campus are for nuisance levels of:

  • Dust during cleaning activities
  • Small amounts of mold clean-up
  • Animal allergens
  • Wildfire smoke

Both mandatory and voluntary use of respirators on campus must be reviewed and approved prior to use. If you are unsure if a respirator may be required for your work, consult with your supervisor and follow the instructions on the How to Get a Respirator.


  • N95-respirators are one common type of filtering facepiece respirator (FFR). When used properly, N95-respirators can reduce exposure to airborne particulates.
  • FFRs do not provide protection against chemical vapors or gases.
  • Proper training on the use and limitations of respirators is required to ensure safe use.

Voluntary Use Requirements for Employees

Medical Surveillance

  • Tight-fitting respirators are generally safe to use; however, they may not be appropriate for some individuals with certain medical conditions which may include certain pre-existing respiratory conditions. If you would like to consult with a medical provider regarding your ability to wear a respirator, contact EH&S Occupational Health Nurse, (858) 534-8225.
  • Routine medical surveillance is not required for voluntary N95-respirator use.

Regulations and Policies

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